K: "We all want to help. When you see suffering in the world there is an intense desire to help; "

K: “We all want to help. When you see suffering in the world there is an intense desire to help; but to truly help people you have to go to the fundamental cause of things. You have to discover the cause of suffering, and you can only do that if there is profound thinking. And this thinking is not mere intellectual delight, but it can only take place, this thinking, in action.”

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Prize in Literature 1913

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I constantly see problems that need solving.

Its as if my brain was a machine whose goal was to identify and deal with problems.

But is it necessary to be constantly solving problems? Is life just a constant stream of problems?

Or is this just what my brain is programmed to perceive? Maybe this is in itself a delusion?

And if my brain is confused, is it the best placed to be solving problems?

If someone asks for help, I think we should go and see what they want.

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What are the root causes of human suffering?

I suspect that if we understand what suffering is, or even just have a good model of the process of suffering, the cause will be evident.

Can we say that what I see (or my projections) causes me suffering? If I see slightly annoying stuff, that causes me a bit of suffering, and really terrible stuff causes me lots of suffering?

Yes, I’d think suffering varies by degrees. Suffering seems to be the result of body sensations, neurological responses, egoic interpretations (psychological suffering), or desire for power and possessions (which can inflict suffering on others, as well).

The important aspect, rather than the different intensities, is the fact that suffering is produced by me. Specifically: I automatically discriminate between good and bad - this being a highly subjective projection based on past experience - and automatically feel a certain subjective level of attraction or aversion.

The experience is mainly self produced. Not saying the objective world does not exist, just that what I perceive and feel is determined by me (automatically, I have seemingly no choice in the matter)

One could define suffering as the distance between what I want and what is. Or more accurately : my experience of this distance.

Many good points here! The subjective, sensitive body moving through its environment suffers at its own discretion. One man’s suffering can be another man’s pleasure. I suffer with boom box music and my neighbor thrives on it. The environment is a world of suffering, as one perceives it. When I watch the bear catch a salmon, I assume his grinding teeth cause suffering, though briefly, to the salmon. When I see an invasive vine covering a once flourishing tree, appearing to suffocate it, I assume suffering. As I watched the news of the Dalfour refugees living under the harshest conditions-no food, no shade, no water, I assumed they are suffering. Seeing the human conditions of the streets of my city, with many sleeping in doorways, is so much closer to home. How I react to suffering does seem to have distance as a factor.

I think we have to agree that other human beings generally suffer in a similar way to ourselves.

The world not being as I feel it ought, feels like a problem - I don’t like it. Depending on the intensity of this feeling (for example, not being able to scratch an itch) the rest of existence can dissapear, reality is completely taken up by the need to resolve what I see as the only thing with meaning : resolving my need.

Any action taken from this basis of reality can be dangerous, necessarily comes into conflict with everything else, every other point of view. It is the perpetuation of suffering.
Even the feeling of pleasure and accomplishment (itch scratched) perpetuates and reinforces the reality of my projections.
Everytime I am persuaded that what I see is true, I, and my suffering is confirmed and my reality reinforced.

We seem to have no choice but to suffer, but isn’t it because we choose to decide and believe what is right and wrong, true and false, good and bad, etc., that we establish the terms and conditions for suffering?

Isn’t our suffering the price we pay to play God, to be The One who says what is and what is not, what should and should not be?

Helping others releases dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, all of which boost mood.

" But the benefits don’t stop at moods! Serotonin is connected to sleep, digestion, memory, learning, and appetite. Dopamine is connected to motivation and arousal. Oxytocin “the cuddle hormone” is among the most ancient of our neurochemicals and has a powerful effect on the brain and the body. When oxytocin begins to flow, blood pressure decreases and the foundation for sexual arousal is built. Bonding increases, social fears are reduced and trust and empathy are enhanced. Oxytocin is also an anti-inflammatory and reduces pain and enhances wound healing." The Neuroscience of Giving | Psychology Today

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Millions of children are born to die due to hunger.

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There are I think situations for which suffering can be a kind of teacher. If someone is in such a situation and you attempt to relieve/end their suffering, you might be doing more harm than good.

Yes, the conditioned brain, being under the influence of its psychological content is too confused and insensitive to know when helping is appropriate and when it is making matters worse.

As I see it the conditioning is not the ‘problem’ but the identification with it. When there is identification with thought for example, there is no ‘relation’ to it. The identification precludes real relationship and the ‘me’ arises.

Does the same ‘swarm’ of causes and conditions that creates the conditioned brain also create the drive to identify with that brain?

Do I really care about the suffering in the world? We recognise that awful things are happening right now in the world out there, and that we could act right now (eg. adopt a child or send a charity some money to buy food)

What about my suffering, and the suffering that I cause to my loved ones? Do I really care? Am I willing to be honest about my own suffering and its consequences? Do I even realise that I am the foundation for suffering?

Am I willing to listen to the whole story of suffering? Is there enough Love? Can I really care? Or is my experience the only thing of value?

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I think some of us realize that there will be no end to suffering until the ‘I process’ is seen through and ends. It is the cause of division and results in conflict. But I can’t do that for you and you can’t do it for me…or anyone else. It is our own ‘work’ and there is no guarantee. There is nothing wrong with being charitable, giving, service etc but being also aware that I do it because it makes ‘me’ feel good. It makes me feel good about myself.

If I am not my conditioning I don’t have to identify with it. Are you not your conditioning?

You’re not the conditioning, the ‘noise’. We don’t have to ‘identify’ but we do out of the fear of being nothing. The fear of not having something to ‘hold on to’. Are you your opinions or are they the opinions of the thinker? ‘You’ ARE, but the ‘thinker’ is just thought. And thought is the past. ‘Transformation’ as I see it is only in the moment, it is not continuous as is the ‘conditioning.

How do you know this? It seems to me that I am who/what I think I am, and I can’t stop thinking, which may be the only way I can realize I am not what I think. Calling thinking “noise” doesn’t change anything.

We don’t have to ‘identify’ but we do out of the fear of being nothing. The fear of not having something to ‘hold on to

Do you know that you are nothing, having nothing to hold onto, or is this just your new “noise”?

Are you your opinions or are they the opinions of the thinker? ‘You’ ARE, but the ‘thinker’ is just thought. And thought is the past.

Yes, but the thinker is something to hold on to, and if you’ve quit holding on to thought, quit identifying with it, is it because thinking stopped and you realized it is just noise, or because you choose to think of it as noise that can be ignored, dismissed, instead of something to be acutely aware of?